The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

New grant for parents to pay for childcare

$1.8 mil grant given to UWEC to help young parents pay for the cost of childcare
Photo by Taylor Boggess
The Nature Academy on Priory Road.

Editor’s note: Boehm uses she/they pronouns

UW-Eau Claire’s nursery, UWEC Children’s Nature Academy, recently received a $1.8 million grant in an attempt to help students with children.

According to the academy brochure it is called CCAMPIS, which stands for Child Care Means Parents in School. CCAMPIS helps low-income students by providing equity in educational opportunities. 

Lisa Coen, the academy’s director since 2015, said that the grant will not only help assist students looking for childcare, but to expand the academy itself.

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“It’s to help them have access to childcare, but it’s also to help them have access to resources that are available to them,” Coen said.

Coen said she is also in the process of hiring a family service specialist to help students break down the barriers that they may have regarding finding childcare and family issues.

In order to be eligible for the grant, the student must be Pell Eligible while also being a student at UW-Eau Claire Coen said.

To access the funding, it is a simple process Coen said. A student must simply call the academy and turn in their forms showing they are indeed Pell Eligible. They must also provide the child’s proper documentation.  

“It’s easy. I would invite them to call me today. There is nothing formalized about this, it’s easy, we’re gonna help you,” Coen said. “Call us, tell us your needs, and we’re gonna say ‘well when can you come in and talk to us.’ I would love to have every student-parent here.”

Alexis Boehm, third-year environmental public health student, has three children enrolled with the academy. Boehm said that she was a stay-at-home mother before coming back to school, and was nervous about sending her children off without her.

Boehm said that she had difficulties finding availability for even just one of her children in Eau Claire, let alone all three. But the academy had reached out to her and said the academy had room to take all three of her children.

By just being enrolled at UW-Eau Claire, Boehm said she got bumped to the top of the list for enrollment. 

“As a student we already get a bit of a discount with having your kids go to the Nature Academy since it’s affiliated with the school which is very helpful because childcare is very expensive. To know it’s going to be even lower now is huge … it’s gonna be great for my family,” Boehm said.

Boehm said she has had an amazing experience with the academy, as well as her kids.

“They love it. They’re thriving, they’re so excited to go everyday. And they’re really great there, I like the staff, they are all really great people,” Boehm said.

“We are very proud of the fact that we are a national accredited program with highly qualified teachers. I think what this grant is also allowing us to do, is we’re expanding our classrooms for everyone, there is gonna be more care for students,” Coen said

Other than providing childcare, the academy is also providing housing for students, Coen said. Many just don’t know because they are not directly on campus, but Coen said they are working to create more of a presence.

The academy is also having an open house where students are welcome to also check out their facilities and talk over with the staff of their childcare needs.

Boggess can be reached at [email protected].

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